The ACE 2008 Team Tryouts were held last weekend at all 3 ACE Tennis locations: Toronto Tennis City, Astra Tennis Club and Cedar Springs Health, Racquet and Sports Club.
The 2008 ACE Team concept is a talent identification program aimed at 5 year old kids who will turn 6 years old in 2014. This program is an experimental one to test some aspects of player development in tennis. The concept is to group a selection of players in a structured 30 week team environment in which they will be exposed to a scientific approach to player development following Tennis Canada guidelines and the ACE Tennis Mantra.
In last weekends tryouts there were about 60 5 year olds going through a series of physical and mental tests. As this is an experimental program it was used as an opportunity to evaluate the validity of the tests. Most of the tests proved to be relevant, but there will be changes for next year. Initially, the idea was to use the testing in order to chose a team of 12 players for each location. The decision was made however, to accept all of the kids into the program and have a 6 week trial period with the intention and expectation of creating a group of 12 or less. At which time the children and parents will be assessed in terms of their commitment based on attendance, punctuality, maturity level and productivity towards the program.
The entire ACE staff is very excited about this project as it is an opportunity to grow the game through providing free programming and a team environment where kids can make friends and learn to love the game together. On top of laying the foundation for these young players development, one exciting challenge for the coaches of these programs will be to see who can develop the best 5 year olds. Coaches and players will be looking forward to the competitive regroupings between the 3 teams throughout the year.
It is hoped that this program will be duplicated throughout the clubs and academies in Ontario and Canada. The goal is to inspire more kids and families to pursue tennis at a young age so that we do not lose good athletes to other sports.